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Crisis at Kasserine scenario from designer series 1: initial impressions


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#1 Kingtiger

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:32 PM

Played a few rounds of this scenario yesterday. We didn't stop because the scenario was no good, no we simply ran out of time. As we only managed to finish two complete rounds, don't take any of what I say below too seriously!

We had the impression that this scenario must be pretty hard on the Germans, whereas the historical result was quite an overwhelming victory from their perspective. What makes it hard for the Germans? Well, although they start with a slight numerical advantage (which is even amplified by the US troops receiving some severe drawbacks by means of a modified "Shaken defenders" operations card, constantly robbing them of two cover dice and making it impossible for them to use more than one additional unit in combined fire actions), they will be able to inflict some casualties on the Germans. then on the status face of round 1 (!) they receive two Shermans, whereas the only true anti-tank weapon the Germans have at that stage is an 88, which can normally of course only fire just once. It's important to also mention in this context that the US forces start out with two modified halftracks boasting 75 mm guns, which also have a range and firepower of 6 against vehicles. So already by turn 2, the germans are basically forced onto the defensive or are at the very least halted in their tracks. Not until the end of round 3 do they finally receive substantial reinforcements: 3 panzer III's and 2 panzer IV's (they start with no tanks at all, while their objective is to at least move two tanks off the far end of the board as well as capture the objective hex).OK, admittedly, things appear to be brightening for the germans by that time, but then on round 4 the Americans already receive more reinforcements of their own; including two more of the aforementioned halftracks! If the US plays it safe, they will then have 4 halftracks and two Shermans against the German aforementioned tanks and 88. Seems an even fight now, but the US only needs to destroy three of these tanks!

With the special rule as written ( for aaticking purposes only, units may use their longest range) this would become as good as impossible (that is keeping at least two tanks alive) as this would boil down to infantry being allowed to use their anti-infantry ranges against vehicles (?!); i.e. hit a tanks at 4 hexes away on 5's and sixes. Though these tank units do usually receive some extra cover thanks to another special rule (which is actually fun!), all this combined firepower would simply and undoubtedly prove to much. therefore we decided to drop the special rule in question. It didn't appear to be needed. Aletrnatively, one could have it apply only to vehicles 9that is, vehicles may use their longest range while attacking). That should give the 5 German tanks a good possibility of completely upsetting the US infantry defense in that one round that they have a good possibility to make the most out of it!

Despite the above, it certainly does look like a nice scenario and certainly not terribly unbalanced, except for that rediculous special rule. We'll certainly set it up again one day and play it in its entirety. After all, we might be wrong about much or some of the above!

 
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#2 Grand Stone

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:16 PM

This actually sounds very encouring. Sounds like a very fluent battle, going back and forth.  And yes, the germans do have a few things going for them, elites, not shaken, and three free cards in round 4 and round 5.  So if its not terrible broken, this one sound very fun.

 

Interesting twists:

 

1. I'm guessing that if the AT gun is taken care of, the shermans and the US shermans may a few rounds of free bear (round 2 and 3). But in round 4 the tide will turn, things changes.

2. The german command objectives, they have to be fought over. Will the US take the bridge first thing they do, or will they wait, use it as a bate and destroy the squad who tries to take it? Every single squad for the germans are packed with specilizations, elites, mortars and what not. But they dont have many of them. So every single one of them is  precious.

 

I geuss that the intention of that spesial rule was to allow vehicle to have slightly better range versus infanteri and they overlooked the infanteri attcking vehicles part.



#3 Kingtiger

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 10:42 PM

Grand Stone said:

This actually sounds very encouring. Sounds like a very fluent battle, going back and forth.  And yes, the germans do have a few things going for them, elites, not shaken, and three free cards in round 4 and round 5.  So if its not terrible broken, this one sound very fun.

 

Interesting twists:

 

1. I'm guessing that if the AT gun is taken care of, the shermans and the US shermans may a few rounds of free bear (round 2 and 3). But in round 4 the tide will turn, things changes.

2. The german command objectives, they have to be fought over. Will the US take the bridge first thing they do, or will they wait, use it as a bate and destroy the squad who tries to take it? Every single squad for the germans are packed with specilizations, elites, mortars and what not. But they dont have many of them. So every single one of them is  precious.

 

I geuss that the intention of that spesial rule was to allow vehicle to have slightly better range versus infanteri and they overlooked the infanteri attcking vehicles part.

No, it didn't look terribly broken to me. Hard, perhaps slightly harder for the Germans than it ought to be, but certainly worth playing to conclusion and trying again.

1.) If you set up the 88 well, the US will have a hard time dealing with it before the arrival of the Shermans (restricted in using combined fire and the AT gun counts as a vehicle,; then again with the special rule as written, they should stand a better chance, but I do consider that special rule broken). Then when the Shermans do arrive they need to either make it onto the road, which can be covered by the 88, or move accross/ onto the hills, but the same applies to that. that is, the 88 should get at least one op-fire attack off!

2.) Yes, the German command objectives are certainly worth fighting over. Initiative seems important in this scenario, so it's important to have a CP advantage. If I remember correctly, the Germans have one engineer squad, one flamethrower and 2 recon specializations. Indeed also a mortar and elites, and no restrictions against the use of combined fire. Clearly the scenario was designed intentionally like this and then combined fire certainly isn't broken unlike in other scenarios where it seems to have been overlooked and/or it wwas apparently forgotten to limit or ban it for that scenario.



#4 Grand Stone

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:05 PM

In round I'm guessing the US will hide their anti-tank halftracks, or I would atleast. Which is another nice feature of having the AT-gun.

But hiding them in round 2 would be counter productive I guess, as then the push by the US in turn 2 and 3 would be impossible. Concussive firepower is to good not to be used.

Due to the extra cover from the fog, its indeed not that easy to take out the 88. A sherman firing with a move and ifre will have 4 dices, and no combined fire, and the 88 will easily gain 5-6 in cover.  The US may be lucky and take it out with a fire and movement actions in round 2, but then the question is who has the initiative round 3. If the germans has that initiative, they can get another shot of. And hopefully, it would have heavily damaged atleast one enemy, before its destroied.

And in round 4 and 5 they have a nasty artellery card for free. Which may further aid the german advance.

 

The real pain for the germans is however that the US can sacrifice everything to heavy damage the four tanks neccessary.  Even infanteri firing with a movement and fire action (2 dices) is a potential threat to a lighly damaged panzer III, even with fog.



#5 Kingtiger

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:53 AM

It certainly looks like an interesting scenario worth finishing, which I'm planning on doing next weekend if I can find a gaming buddy willing and able to play.



#6 Kingtiger

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 11:56 PM

We gave this scenario another go last Saturday. We got as far as mid round 7. By this time the germans had exited two tanks off the board, but still needed to take the objective. Whether they would have pulled this off cannot be said with certainty. If the Americans had cramped the objective and surrounding hexes this might have become problematic. Then again, the Germans would have had the initiative on round 8, had we had time to continue (the local FLAGS was in the process of closing)and might have taken the objective forcing the Americans to retake it and thereby undoubtedly sustaining losses from German units I would have put on op fire at the start if the round. I still had the vcard allowing fatigued units to switch to op-fire which I would have done with one unit that would most probably have taken the objective in close cooperation with two other squads.

Overall we found it to be a fairly well balanced scenario, even though it seemed a bit boring to play on the American side (mostly putting units in Op-fire, being very restricted in their vehicle movements due to the 88 which will in all likelihood be placed on op-fire most of the time) and the fact that certainly by the later stages of the game, all the fighting occurs on a few hexes surrounding the exit point and/or objective. then again, this seems to be fairly historically accurate.

If I had to grade the scenario on a scale of 1 to 10 (one being lousy and ten being excellent) I'd give it a 7; 8 for balance, 6 for fun, which makes an average of 7.

I do recommend it, though as it is certainly one of the better balanced official TOI scenarios available, at least out of the ones that I have played, which I estimate to be around 40 percent or so (some other clearly unbalanced ones I haven't bothered to set up, as either my experience as a TOI player or reading some player comments online told me I'd better invest my time in a more balanced scenario).



#7 Grand Stone

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 09:38 AM

Yes this is somewhat typical. The defender can have a nice time planing the defence, seting up. But after he has set up, there might not be much to do other than to wait, sitt still and fire. This also leads to the setup for the defender being extremly important.

I've actually won a game where I had NO units left on the board. I heavily damaged the last vehicle by a blind artellery. That was slighlty fun. But, yes playing defender can be slightly frustrating at times, cuz there is nothing you can do. However scenarios where the defender needs to be agressive themselfs are often far more entertaining.

 

But back to the scenario, I read it that the AT gun is kept alive during the entire game? And yes, if its alive and kicking when the germans gets their tanks, it would most definitively be a major factor. And most importantly, scare the US from making bold moves.  With a bit of luck and somewhat aggressive US player it may be able to take out the AT gun in round two or three without to heavy cassulties. It greatly depends on what you sacrifice, but would it be worth it playing the US aggressive the three first turns? It would atleast make the game completly different if the AT gun is removed in round 2 or three.

 

 

 

 



#8 Kingtiger

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 02:43 AM

Grand Stone said:

Yes this is somewhat typical. The defender can have a nice time planing the defence, seting up. But after he has set up, there might not be much to do other than to wait, sitt still and fire. This also leads to the setup for the defender being extremly important.

I've actually won a game where I had NO units left on the board. I heavily damaged the last vehicle by a blind artellery. That was slighlty fun. But, yes playing defender can be slightly frustrating at times, cuz there is nothing you can do. However scenarios where the defender needs to be agressive themselfs are often far more entertaining.

 

But back to the scenario, I read it that the AT gun is kept alive during the entire game? And yes, if its alive and kicking when the germans gets their tanks, it would most definitively be a major factor. And most importantly, scare the US from making bold moves.  With a bit of luck and somewhat aggressive US player it may be able to take out the AT gun in round two or three without to heavy cassulties. It greatly depends on what you sacrifice, but would it be worth it playing the US aggressive the three first turns? It would atleast make the game completly different if the AT gun is removed in round 2 or three.

 

 

 

 

Well, if the US do go after the 88, I suppose they could take it out, but since it's treated as a vehicle, the only units capable of taking it out should be the Shermans or the halftracks. A halftrack will almost certainly get killed trying and a Sherman should expect to at l;east get heavily damaged. Note that the 88 was placed in rough terrain and with an accompanying entrenchment giving it two additional cover. We played without the weird special rule allowing all units to use their longest range, btw.

It would certainly be interesting to see a truly aggressive US on the first couple of rounds!



#9 Latro

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 06:21 AM

Grand Stone said:

But back to the scenario, I read it that the AT gun is kept alive during the entire game? And yes, if its alive and kicking when the germans gets their tanks, it would most definitively be a major factor. And most importantly, scare the US from making bold moves.  With a bit of luck and somewhat aggressive US player it may be able to take out the AT gun in round two or three without to heavy cassulties. It greatly depends on what you sacrifice, but would it be worth it playing the US aggressive the three first turns? It would atleast make the game completly different if the AT gun is removed in round 2 or three.

 

Unless the german player makes very big mistakes or the dice are very much US-biased, I don't see the 88 going down anytime soon:

 

- The US-player has almost no option to form agressive squads (all green) or deploy agressively (the green bordered hexes must be filled). The german-player has plenty elites and freedom of deployment.

- The US units will be advancing in the open, the german units will be firing from cover.

- The special fog-rules will give the germans 2-3 extra cover, while the cover for the US units can be negated by supressive and/or area attacks.

- The german MG can profit from op-fire, the US can't.

 

… did I mention the 88 will have something like 6-8 armour/cover?



#10 Grand Stone

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 11:23 PM

Yes, the germans have better troops and with the extra cover granted by fog the quality of the troops is amplified. And maybe you are correct that an aggressive US player would cost to much. But, if they could sacrifice one half-track to remove that AT gun, that might be worth it. However if you sacrifice two or more, its probably not. But it would atleast be a far more fun scenario if the US could play aggressive the two first rounds… :)



#11 Kingtiger

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 08:24 PM

Grand Stone said:

Yes, the germans have better troops and with the extra cover granted by fog the quality of the troops is amplified. And maybe you are correct that an aggressive US player would cost to much. But, if they could sacrifice one half-track to remove that AT gun, that might be worth it. However if you sacrifice two or more, its probably not. But it would atleast be a far more fun scenario if the US could play aggressive the two first rounds… :)

 

I don't entirely agree with latro (He was my opponent). I played the scenario partially before with another friend and he was more successful as the US player. He played more aggressively; that is, he didn't flee, he stayed put in the entrenchments and op fired every advancing German unit. Boldly charging forward, I agree with latro, is something the US should NOT do.



#12 Grand Stone

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 12:58 AM

 

I'll reread this one again and figure I'll definitively try this one out with an agreesive US.  Taking the bridge turn one, with one green troop.  And setup to MGs in two entrenchments, and having one or two troops in reach of the bridge hex in reserve. Leaving the two halftracks unmoved, gambling that the german AT gun dont do much damage at longe range AND with fog.  Forcing some though decision upon the germans. Do they use their mortar on the MG, or on the bridge?



#13 Kingtiger

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 03:54 AM

Grand Stone said:

 

I'll reread this one again and figure I'll definitively try this one out with an agreesive US.  Taking the bridge turn one, with one green troop.  And setup to MGs in two entrenchments, and having one or two troops in reach of the bridge hex in reserve. Leaving the two halftracks unmoved, gambling that the german AT gun dont do much damage at longe range AND with fog.  Forcing some though decision upon the germans. Do they use their mortar on the MG, or on the bridge?

The aggressive approach might work. Interested in hearing how it went! However, wouldn't count too much on the 88 not doing too much damage. It throws a whopping 13 dice! Cover would at most be 1 (fog, if not fatigued!)+3 (because of range)+1 (armor)=5.



#14 Grand Stone

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 09:15 AM

I haven't played it jet, but its definitively on my to do list. Play test this one with an aggressive US the three first turns.

Ofcourse, you count the normal effect of fog in addition. But you gain it for both sides right? 13 dices at LONG range versus 5 in armor. In average 2.16 hits versus 1.67 saves. But you might be lucky and no damage. Unlucky and get a lightly damage. But heavily damage is very unlikely at long range.

 

 



#15 Latro

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 02:42 AM

Kingtiger said:

Grand Stone said:

 

Yes, the germans have better troops and with the extra cover granted by fog the quality of the troops is amplified. And maybe you are correct that an aggressive US player would cost to much. But, if they could sacrifice one half-track to remove that AT gun, that might be worth it. However if you sacrifice two or more, its probably not. But it would atleast be a far more fun scenario if the US could play aggressive the two first rounds… :)

 

 

 

I don't entirely agree with latro (He was my opponent). I played the scenario partially before with another friend and he was more successful as the US player. He played more aggressively; that is, he didn't flee, he stayed put in the entrenchments and op fired every advancing German unit. Boldly charging forward, I agree with latro, is something the US should NOT do.

pensativo

 

… my frontline units never left the entrenchments. The reason that they didn't do anything with op-fire is because they were supressed (and eventually routed) all the time by the germans. Again, the -2 cover against suppresive fire and no additional cover at all against AoE attacks made a big difference. So regardless of how your previous opponent may have played/rolled it, realistically the frontline US units can only sit and die for a few turns while the rearguard US units and reinforcements position themselves and wait for a few more turns untill the Germans are ready to make their final push.

 

It played kinda balanced (bit of a guestimate after just one game), but very boring.



#16 Latro

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 02:48 AM

Grand Stone said:

I haven't played it jet, but its definitively on my to do list. Play test this one with an aggressive US the three first turns.

Ofcourse, you count the normal effect of fog in addition. But you gain it for both sides right? 13 dices at LONG range versus 5 in armor. In average 2.16 hits versus 1.67 saves. But you might be lucky and no damage. Unlucky and get a lightly damage. But heavily damage is very unlikely at long range.

 

 

 

Don't forget that the 88 has a range of 9 against vehicles, so any US vehicle that moves into range to take a shot will always be at normal range for the german op-fire (or normal return fire). Due to it's massive range, basicly the entire area around the objectives will also be in normal range when deployed in the rough terrain near the bridge.

 






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